Indian squad for series against Sri Lanka

Sreesanth in, Laxman out

Cricinfo staff

October 14, 2005

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Suresh Raina remains in the Indian team, while VVS Laxman stays out © Getty Images
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S Sreesanth, a right-arm fast bowler from Kerala, was rewarded for his superb performances in the Challenger Series with a place in the Indian squad for the first two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka. The 15-man squad also includes Rudra Pratap Singh, the 19-year-old left-arm seamer, but there was no room for VVS Laxman. Sourav Ganguly and Mohammad Kaif were left out due to injuries, and will undergo fitness tests before the squad for the remaining games is announced.

Sreesanth was outstanding in the Challenger, taking seven wickets in three matches - the joint-highest in the tournament with Murali Kartik - at an average of just less than 20. He joins Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar and Rudra Pratap Singh as the three specialist fast bowlers in the squad, while the spin department is manned by Harbhajan Singh and Kartik.

The Challenger couldn't do the trick for Laxman, though. Despite scores of 48 and 110 in the two matches he played, Laxman was omitted. Zaheer Khan too couldn't make it though on a couple of occasions in the series he was back to his searing best. On his omission, Kiran More, chairman of selectors, said, "we are looking at options in this area [seamers]. A few youngsters are looking strong and have performed better".

The selectors kept their faith in Venugopal Rao and Suresh Raina, who were both part of the squad for the triangular one-day tournament in Zimbabwe earlier this year.

The Challenger also wasn't such a good one for Kaif, who tore a hamstring while fielding during the final on Thursday. The state of that injury, as well as Ganguly's dodgy tennis elbow, will be assessed before the selectors meet to decide the squad for the rest of the series.

The seven-match ODI series begins with a game at Nagpur on October 25.

Squad
Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (captain), Yuvraj Singh, Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina, JP Yadav, MS Dhoni (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, S Sreesanth, RP Singh.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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